Perhaps somewhere today in heaven, Irby “Rabbit” Curry is smiling, as Vanderbilt out dueled Houston 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham to cap off a season with a bowl victory for the second year in a row.
Video Uploaded to You Tube by ESPN
Prior to the Commodore victory, they were shown this inspirational video:
Video Uploaded to You Tube by VUCommodores
This video perhaps was inspirational to this year’s edition of the Commodores and helped create the right mindset and mental toughness to achieve another bowl victory. Perhaps the spirit of “Rabbit” Curry is smiling, as some believe his spirit urged Vandy on to victory against Texas after Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin told them about Curry prior to the game on October 22, 1921. Irby “Rabbit” Curry was an All-American quarterback for Vanderbilt in 1916. The brilliant runner was born in Marlin, Texas, in 1894 and was a product of Marlin High School. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Curry volunteered for service during World War I. After completing his Ground School work he was ordered to Rantoul, IL to the Flying School. Heroically, Curry was shot down over France near Chateau Thierry and was killed during aerial combat on August 18, 1918.
Part of that speech included these words that were written in 50 Years of Vanderbilt Football, written by Fred Russell and Maxwell Benson:
“I am glad Mr. Curry is here. Some of you knew Rabbit. We felt toward him the tenderness a mother feels towards her own little boy. He had a little slender body; he weighed only 128 pounds, but he had a heart as big as that loving cup over there on the mantel. He was modest; his life was absolutely clean; and what a fighter he was. His life was a great contribution to Vanderbilt–traditionally to our athletic traditions. The influence of his spirit will always abide. He always wanted to play with Vanderbilt against Texas. His body is resting only a few miles south of here; but his spirit is hovering above us now. Some of these days I want to see his likeness looking down on our athletic fields. I am glad his father is here so that he can see, face-to-face, how we regard his son.”
“There is one thing that makes me sick at heart. I heard repeatedly before we left Nashville that this Vanderbilt team, this crowd of men into whose faces I now look, might win from Texas if it would only fight. Has anybody the right to imply such an insult? And, if so, when before now could such a thing be said of men from Tennessee? How about Pickett’s men who moved out of the wood and exposed their breasts and faces to be shattered and torn as they moved up that slope? And how about The Tennesseans of the Thirtieth Division, who broke the Hindenburg line–a task even greater because it was accompanied by so much mud and misery. All but a few here are Tennesseans and the rest have elected to be educated here. You are a part of us and you must uphold the traditions of Vanderbilt and Tennessee.”
On that day, the Commodores proceeded to beat Texas 20-0. Blinky Horn, who covered that game for The Tennessean wrote, ” The victory surely must make the gallant Curry rest with more repose in his Texas tomb, now wreathed with the hale of a Commodore conquest.”
(H/T: SECSports.com, ESPN, Bill Traughber/ VUCommodores.com, Joe Fisher/Twitter)